We are serving up this spicy tilapia recipe with wild rice for a fast, healthy and easy dinner entree. If you already have some leftover rice in the fridge it is even faster. There is a ton of flavor from the zesty taste of tomatoes and chiles that balances deliciously with the fish and rice.
This recipe is perfect for an easy weeknight but it doesn’t sacrifice on flavor.
There are some days that I am too busy or too distracted to even think of what’s for dinner. Or, maybe I am guilty of poor planning and we have breakfast for dinner. Can anyone relate?
Well, this spicy tilapia recipe is definitely easy and fast, plus it is a low-fat, low-calorie entree. You can easily adapt this dinner with different species of fish or rice. Try it with a wild blend rice, or with sprouted brown rice for extra variety.
Tilapia is a freshwater fish and likes the warmer waters, such as in the Mediterranean. It is one of the main fishes in the Sea of Galilee and is also known as St. Peter’s fish from the story in the bible of Peter taking the coin from the fish. (Matthew 17:27)
Tilapia is most often sold as loins or fillets of about four or five ounces each. The fillets are boneless, firm, light, and slightly sweet without that oily or fishiness taste.
We love how fast it is to prepare. It doesn’t take much time to cook tilapia so it is a great fish to have on hand for last-minute dinner plans. Our pan-fried cod is another quick recipe that you should keep on your dinner rotation.
Is tilapia healtlhy?
Yes, tilapia is healthy. It is loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids and lean protein.
How to make this spicy tilapia recipe
The Tilapia will cook in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until it flakes easily with a fork. While it is baking and the rice is cooking all that is needed is a side veggie or a salad. Easy peasy!
Here is a breakdown of how to make the recipe but make sure to scroll to the printable recipe card for all the details.
- Add the ingredients for the spicy tomato mixture into the bottom of a baking dish.
- Place the tilapia fillets on the tomato mixture, coat in olive oil, then sprinkle with the spice mixture. Cover the dish and refrigerate while you get the wild rice started.
- Cook the wild rice. When the rice has 20 minutes left to cook, place the spicy tilapia in the pre-heated oven.
- Cook the tilapia for 20 minutes or until it flakes easily with a fork.
Tips for success.
- It takes about 60 minutes to cook the wild rice so plan ahead or use leftover rice. We like to make a large batch of rice and package it up for meal prep.
- You know the tilapia is fully cooked when it flakes easily with a fork.
- Since tilapia is a mild-tasting fish it goes well with just about any side entree. It is also a great fish to serve someone that is hesitant to try fish.
- Tilapia goes well with spices. This spicy tilapia recipe uses cumin, chipotle and black pepper for a bit of heat. If you don’t have one or more of these spices you can substitute it with cayenne or chili powder. It will still be delicious.
Actually, wild rice is a grass and native to North America, a lot of what is on the market grows in the Great Lakes area and Canada. Wild rice has a little more protein and fiber than rice and cooks the same as rice, taking about as long to cook as brown rice.
We like our wild rice best when a little firm, more like al-dente, but if you prefer softer rice just cook it a little longer the cooking the softer it becomes.
Cooking and storing wild rice
I like to cook up a big batch of wild rice, portion it into sealable containers and freeze it. That is a huge timesaver when I need some rice for dinner, especially when rushed!
Wild rice will also keep in the refrigerator for about one week. Wild rice has a chewy texture that pairs well with the spiciness of the tomatoes and chilies and the creaminess of the Tilapia.
More fish recipes:
- Sake-Red Miso Sablefish with Wasabi Emulsion,
- Grilled Swordfish with Lemon-Dill Aioli Sauce ,
- Honey-Lemon Glazed Salmon Fillets with Lemon-Dill Butter
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Pin this Spicy Tilapia Recipe for future dinner ideas and keep it in the rotation.
For the Tilapia:
- 2 cans (10.5 oz each) Rotel Original Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
- 4 Tilapia fillets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 fresh lime
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried ground cumin
- pinch of ground chipotle
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives for garnish
- Fresh cilantro sprigs for garnish
For the Wild Rice:
- 1 cup wild rice
- 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup reserved liquid from drained tomatoes/chiles
- 1 clove garlic grated or finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Tilapia:
- Spray an oven-proof baking dish, large enough to hold four fillets, with cooking oil.
- Open both cans of the tomatoes with green chilies and add the contents of one can to the baking dish. Using a mesh strainer set over a bowl, drain the other can of tomatoes and add the solids to the baking dish. Reserve the liquid from this can as it will be used in the rice.
- Arrange the Tilapia fillets on the bed of tomatoes/chiles and squeeze the juice of the lime over them. Brush each fillet with olive oil. In a small dish, combine the oregano, cumin, chipotle, salt and pepper and sprinkle the spices over the fish. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
To Cook the Wild Rice:
- Add the chicken broth and the reserved liquid from the tomatoes to a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and when it begins to boil add the rice, garlic and salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 45-60 minutes, or according to your taste preference. Remove from the heat, drain off any remaining liquid, fluff, keep covered and reserve until ready to serve.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F
- Remove the cover from the fish and transfer to the middle rack of the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the fish flakes easily. Transfer from the oven, cover with foil and allow to rest for five minutes, then sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
- Arrange 3/4 of a cup of rice in the center of each plate and add a Tilapia fillet, garnish with the sliced olives and a sprig of fresh cilantro.
If you are using pre-cooked rice there is no need to refrigerate the tilapia, go directly to the oven. Just reheat the rice in the microwave or stove top when the fish is removed from the oven.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 363Total Fat: 12gSodium: 749mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 3gProtein: 32g